Chicken Soup Feeds Your Soul

soupI love chicken soup, but then, what’s not to love about it. I love making chicken soup and made a batch yesterday. Chicken, chicken stock, whatever vegetables I had available and dumplings. I’m sure many of you are familiar with those big, fluffy dumplings. Not these. I call mine the “Iowa Farm Girl” version. My grandma taught me how to make them. Eggs, flour and a little seasoning. Scoop up a small amount and stir into the boiling soup. They cook up into firm little delights. Because my grandma taught me, they are probably something from the Depression era, and designed to stretch a pot of soup for more people. We ate a lot of it in winter, so it must be true.

Chicken soup is good for many things. We know it to be a cure-all for the common cold. I think it fixes almost anything, simply because it tastes so good and leaves you feeling content and nourished. It truly does feed your soul.

If you are feeling a little blue, have some soup. If you are feeling cold and tired, have some soup. If you are hungry, have some soup. But if you just want to feel good, have some chicken soup.

Be Of Service

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Image from Pexels

It is President’s Day in the US, a day to honor our Presidents and a holiday for many of us. It is also a day for Macy’s to have a fabulous sale, so hang with me a bit and you can check that ad after you read this.

A President, along with anyone else working in government, is a Public Servant. The role of the Public Servant is to act in the best interests of the citizens, and not in one’s own best interest. A Public Servant should be concerned with policies and programs that serve and protect the majority, and not just deals and actions that benefit them or make them more money. Twisting policies to hide their actions is unethical and immoral. Decision-making involves protecting citizens, even from each other, and should benefit the greater good. Any decision-maker is not likely to make everyone happy, but the majority of all involved – All, not just a select few. I think there should be a sign in the Oval Office that reads “Act for the Highest Good of All Involved”.

Our presidential history has been interesting: duels, adultery, conspiracies and plenty of scandalous behavior, not all of it fitting for someone guiding our country. There have been stellar servants, bringing many beneficial programs and services to our country. Some were weak, some tyrannical, some too nice and the occasional eight-year-old brat. With the advent of social media, the good and bad behavior is now available for everyone’s entertainment.

Many hopefuls are now running down the campaign trail to the Presidential election. Thanks to social media, we get a front row seat to the drama. Yes, I call it drama. How would you act if you were traveling for weeks on end, a variety of planes-trains-and-automobiles, away from your family and home, sleeping and eating on the run, meeting thousands of people, talking about what matters to you, all in the effort of getting someone to vote for you. Wouldn’t you be a little crabby and sometimes say something stupid?

Campaigning is not for the weak. I think it is best to turn off all those ads and rallies and study the history of what those candidates have done in service. Take a closer look at what they have accomplished in their tenure. You want the one that gets sh*t done, and not just babbles a bunch of bullsh*t. Consider it like hiring a new employee. You read their resume, hold interviews and check references. Check those references closely and listen to what they say. You want the person that has the skills, personality and gets sh*t done, or you get nothing.

It is time for all of us to be in service by performing our due diligence and choosing someone we want to honor on this President’s Day.

Still Loving You

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It’s the day after Valentine’s. You might still be digesting last night’s big dinner or in a coma from too much chocolate. Maybe your eyes are still sparkling like the sparkly gift you received. Or maybe you are still in bed and . . . I don’t really want to know. The hearts and farts are wilting and fading, and life is back to normal. Maybe it is not so normal if you and your bae decided to call it quits. Remember, tomorrow begins Mercury in Retrograde, which is notorious for bringing back exes and regrets.

But, are you remembering yesterday’s message? The one that says to love yourself first? It is very easy to follow when you are surrounded by hearts and other symbols of love. Sure, I can do that as you look in the mirror and mumble, “I love you”. Stop right there. The day after Valentine’s is not when you go back to diminishing yourself. Loving yourself inside and out is an everyday practice. You will never be able to love unconditionally if you don’t do it within.

Love. Your. Self.

I repeat: Love Your Self.

Love your sh*t too. I am using the song “Still Loving You” by the Scorpions (1984, “Love At First Sting”, Universal Records), because heavy metal and hard rock music is typically about great love or great angst. I love this type of music and you will find references all throughout my blog, because it’s all about loving your sh*t. Another example of this is “The Unforgiven” by Metallica (1991, “Metallica”, Elektra Records), telling of the struggle of someone being subjugated by others. Talk about loving your sh*t!

We are here on a journey to discover, experience, grow our spirit and find love within ourselves. Loving yourself generates boundaries that help you recognize when someone or something isn’t good for you. Loving yourself naturally shows you how to care for your mind, body and soul. Loving yourself honors your needs and interests. Loving yourself fills you full of love so that you always have enough love to give to others. Loving yourself is not selfish unless it includes harming or at the expense of others. That is not loving yourself.

Valentine’s Day might be over, but loving yourself never ends.

Loving Your Sh*t

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! A day totally dedicated to love; sharing, giving and receiving, but do you think about giving love to yourself? Probably not, there are plenty of us too intent on giving it to everyone else than to think of our own needs.

It is the main part of our purpose here, besides growing our spirit. What is Spirit if not love? Life is messy and may often have challenges related to self-love. What is self-love, anyway? I believe it is honoring our needs before, but not at the expense of, others. How can you love and care for someone else if you don’t do it for you first? If you don’t, then anything you give might contain the energy of lack or resentment and that’s not a good gift.

When you put yourself first, you continuously fill yourself with love energy so your needs are taken care of so you have plenty – and maybe a little extra – for others. Now that is what I’m talking about!

Part of loving yourself includes loving all the messy parts. This is what I mean in reference to my blog title. We are human beings filled with good stuff and some sh*tty stuff, not all of it poop. We have emotions, not all of them good and some of them downright stinky. We think bad thoughts, sometimes right after the good ones. We have crooked teeth, and big asses – although they are popular now – wrinkles and glasses. We experience delusional thoughts and sometimes can’t control what comes out of our mouths. We’re every color and creed, that doesn’t always get honored. We’re stupid and we kill, sometimes out of greed. Being harmful in any way is not loving and should not be loved within yourself. If you love the crazy parts of you, then maybe you wouldn’t feel the need to be harmful.

How about starting out with a hug? Yourself, that is, with no help from another. Yasss, go ahead and wrap your arms around you. Who care if anyone looks? They might get jealous and do it too. Look in a mirror and say, “I Love YOU”. Do you have any idea how powerful that is? You would, if you took the time to do it.

Now pretend that every day is Valentine’s Day and treat yourself to a little self-love. Even if you are a little bit stinky.

Renewal

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Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” I’m sure many of you have heard that phrase by Ralph Waldo Emerson. How often do you say “if I have/achieve/do this [thing], then I’ll be happy or whatever”? I know I have many times. But then what? Is life over because you got to that point? Maybe for a few, but most of us come up with the next thing.

That is why life is a journey.

I think it is supposed to be. Life is made up of a series of moments, discoveries and actions that help us grow. Or maybe just get us closer to death (sarcasm intended). We shouldn’t let it become a drudge or even a race to the finish line. Life is also not a competition, unless it is within your own mind and if that is what it takes to motivate you, then go for it.

I see life as a renewal. Think of how many people you have been. Baby, child, teenager, young adult, adult, elderly and many versions in-between. Relationships, careers, hobbies and interests. And if you think you don’t have interests. . .well, reading is obviously one of them.

Downtime is a renewal. Sometimes you just need to give your body or brain a break and do mindless activities. I like computer games and have a tendency to get addicted to them. I’m in that mode now, but am starting to realize that I need to get active again. After this post, I have a date with my treadmill. It’s only 12 degrees Fahrenheit outside or I would take a walk. What is important about this is acknowledging and accepting what renewal actions we need. Honoring your body’s need for rest is as important as keeping it strong, flexible and healthy. You can’t do one without the other. If you are fidgety, it is just unspent energy and your body’s way of saying “get me moving!”. Just as feeling listless says “give me a break.”

Too often we push ourselves past the breaking point because of the perceived expectations of others. Do you really think your employer wants a crabby or sick you at work? No, especially if you are sick and infectious to others. You wouldn’t want a crabby or sick doctor operating on you, would you? Listen to what your body is saying to you and take care of it, unless you don’t care if it takes care of you. When you honor your body, your mind will respond and give you ideas. They could be creative, inventive or just reminders of to-do tasks that you forgot when you were neglecting your body.

You can think of the Earth as just a gigantic body. She goes through seasons as a form of renewal. We are in Winter, when she lies dormant and lets the Sky be active. Spring tends to be volatile, when Earth and Sky work together to cleanse and clear the way for new life. Summer is about growth, so the two work in peaceful harmony. Fall is the time when Earth and Sky share their beauty and bounty with all of nature. Imagine what we would be like if we nurtured ourselves in that same way? Do you feel renewed?

Business Casual

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“Who said Business Casual has to be boring?”

We have forgotten how to dress. I like yoga pants. . .for the gym. Or lounging at home. Or the occasional visit to the massage therapist or doctor, when you need to get your clothes off quickly. But not for work. We’ve slid down into this oh-so-casual look of low maintenance, which really just gives the appearance of “I don’t give a sh*t”. Lack of time is just about priorities. If you don’t care about your appearance, what else does that translate into? Lack of funds. . .sorry, I don’t buy into that either. I used to sew my own clothes when I couldn’t afford new prices. Nowadays, consignment stores are popping up everywhere offering designer wear for low-budget prices. I don’t get the “ewww, pre-worn” prissiness. How many times do you think that brand-new shirt was tried on before you bought it? At least the consignment store wares are clean.

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“Tell me again, that bullsh*t story.”

I have never been a fan of business suits, at least the bland, woolen versions. Me, I like a little bit of edge to my business look. I scored this vintage Claude Montana blazer off of Poshmark, an online consignment boutique. Italian made, impeccable tailoring, it features those power shoulder pads so famous in the 80s and early 90s. Mr. Montana was famous for that power suit look, but unfortunately went bankrupt in the late 90s. I consider it an extra investment that I now have two Claude M blazers. Paired with the Hermes scarf in place of a tie (another Poshmark bargain), and Manolo Blahnik wingtips, this defines my version of the power suit. Affordable, due to the secondhand purchase, this look is classy with a definite edge. A better business casual than the blazer and ripped jeans favored by the younger crowd, not that I don’t like that look.

Why I need this look when I’m three weeks out from retirement, speaks more to my opinion about dressing than anything else. I am happiest and feel more like my self when I am dressed well. I’ve been like that since a small child, and then it was ingrained into me when I attended Patricia Stevens Fashion and Business College in the late 70s.

Patricia Stevens originally began as a way to educate and polish young women for entry into the workforce. Part of the curriculum included personal development and appearance. Classes included etiquette, modeling and professional presentation. We were required to dress in heels, nylons and dresses every day. These days, that might generate the opinion as sexist, but I did not and still do not feel that way. We were taught to look professional and act with professional manners. Pretty damn good skills to have. I have read research study findings that state attractive people get better jobs and pay. I don’t think that means you need to be beautiful, just well presented. If you have ever sat on an interview panel, those that come in looking like the job they want usually get the job they want.

One of the trainings that was ingrained into our being was the “Patricia Stevens stance”, a modeling pose with the weight on the angled right foot, forward facing left foot, hips turned to appear narrow and wide shoulders. A feminine, yet powerful presentation of self. I can drop into that pose instantly. When I do, I feel confident and beautiful, even while wearing yoga pants.

Heart Sounds

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Do you ever get a song continuously playing in your head? I’m sure it happens a lot, I know it does for me.

We’ve been watching some reruns of the Johnny Cash show. It was a musical variety show that ran from June 1969 to March 1971. I remember watching it with my grandparents when I was a child. We all loved it. What’s not to love about Johnny Cash? A country music icon and original badass. He delivered rockabilly with all the attitude it deserved.

One of episodes featured Neil Diamond, another music legend. He performed “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show”, one of my favorites. This song has been swirling through my mind for a couple of days. Not such a bad thing.

Those early memories remind me that my love of music has been with me my entire life. Music pulls emotions to the surface, enhances them, releases them and even heals them. Truly a divine gift from Spirit. With the variety of genres, we have many choices that we love or just can’t abide. But some forms of music speak to our heart. I call these Heart Sounds. Music so rich and powerful that you can almost feel your heart responding to the rhythm. Music that creates a deep, peaceful wave within our soul.

Music is for enjoyment, but it can be used for healing purposes. The didgeridoo was invented by the Aboriginal peoples and has been played near sick people to help them heal. It has since been researched and used next to the body. The instrument produces a low frequency vibrational sound similar to our brain waves. Perhaps this is why some music feels to me like heart sounds.

Our bodies have a vibrational structure. This has been researched in the field of bioenergetics, the flow of energy through the body. This subject is beyond the scope of this article.

However, when someone says to you “will you turn that music down”, it might simply be that it does not resonate with their heart sound.

Wishing and Wanting

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Image by waldryano from Pixabay

You are never given the desire for something without the abilities and opportunities to have it in your life, but is your desire big enough to follow through with what it takes?

The recent tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter had me thinking about the rise to greatness. I don’t follow basketball and know very little about Kobe, except what I have read. An incredibly gifted athlete, his passion drove his desire.

Professional athletes have physical attributes, passion and drive, and dedication to practice. You may say, “I’ll never be like that”. Is that lack of desire or lack of belief?

We don’t want what we don’t need. I don’t want an airplane, so I obviously don’t need one. I don’t want to be a professional athlete either. Wanting is not limited to those seemingly big things. Day-to-day life is filled with simple wants: a better home or car, an advanced profession, children, or maybe just a fresh cup of coffee. And not everyone likes coffee.

Desire is the fuel behind the wants. Desire grows into passion and drives the action to achieve your goals. Focus will connect you with the opportunities and teachers to build the skills that return financial support and more opportunities until you achieve what you have wished for.

Some things will happen immediately, like brewing that cup of coffee or going to the coffee shop. Other things will take time to grow and could be a lifetime of achieving. That kernel of desire within drives you to success.

“I can’t do that.”

Is that a “Can’t” or a “Won’t”? Desire will drive you even if you think you can’t. It just might take longer. Can’t will put limits on your skills and downgrade your self-worth, but won’t stop you from wanting your goal. Won’t might just be a fear of not belonging if you don’t really want to do something. It’s okay, being honest about what you want quite often gets respect from others. Now who doesn’t want that?

Use that caffeine desire to get yourself a cup of coffee, and while you are sipping it, plan your next step to your goal. Even if it is just drinking it all.

Social-phone-ic

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I don’t think we often realize how important social connections are to our well-being. Face-to-face conversations and human touch can heal in more powerful ways than we can imagine. Technological connections are wonderful and help us to stay connected to people we don’t have the opportunity to be face-to-face with.

Yesterday, we attended the wedding of one of our neighborhood “family” friends. I call them that, because we are not related by blood, but have established true friendships with them. I consider them family by choice. The wedding was held at a nearby historic home. Small and intimate, beautifully simple with an Irish theme. I think it was the best wedding I have ever attended.

Most importantly, the sense of family and friendship bound the event together will love and caring. Stories and laughter, sharing food and plenty of drink, and music that got people moving their feet. Many of the guests were reluctant to leave the venue, even though the celebration was to continue at our neighborhood pub, where the groom is a co-owner. At the pub, the guests expanded to the regular crowd, faces familiar to me from the neighborhood. An atmosphere of joy in celebrating a new bond.

This feeling sticks with me today, a full heart and sense of belonging. I know that this creates powerful energy that radiates outward to impact many, including those I connected with. It is healing energy, in its simplest form.

I wonder about those who choose to live alone and without social connection, who are often referred to as social-phobics. I know that this has its roots in fear of being hurt. Life comes with a certain amount of risk-taking, which includes having a vulnerable heart. It takes courage, but most importantly hope, to take another chance at love and friendship. Like with many things, that what we fear the most is the greatest thing that heals us.

I hope that the energy swirling outward yesterday touched the hearts of many, enough that they reached out to a friend, stranger or whomever and perhaps opened their heart enough to make a connection. Even if it starts by swiping your phone.

Disinfect-tude

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Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Yesterday, I had a severe case of short-timer’s flu. This attitude had me complaining to my coworkers about how poorly I thought the transition was being handled. Sorry to have dumped that on you, but thank you for listening. Apparently, I needed to vent some of my fears.

I know I am not alone in my madness. I’ve watched others leave for other jobs or to retire, and at the end most of them complained until you just wanted them to pack up their crabby ass and go home. I’m sure my coworkers wished the same thing yesterday.

I don’t know if it seems more prevalent now or I am just noticing it more, but people leaving their jobs seem to be much crabbier now. I had to dissect my own feelings to see my take on this attitude.

My reasons for leaving are simple: I am at the age where retirement is possible, and my circumstances allow this. My Sweetie and I want to have some fun. However, underneath that lies a whole soup of emotions. I no longer care about my work.

I’ve been in this phase of my career for 18-plus years. I created most of my job and helped establish the department. It was tough work, but we had a good group and made it fun. The department grew, and with it the workload. I grew tired of the same routine. In more recent years, management chose to use inferior technology. They went cheap and thought it would be the answer to collaboration. Au contraire, everything became difficult and takes three times as long to process. Half the time, you can’t even find your document. The attitude is that “you will use this”. I believe this contributes to a huge portion of the bad attitude. I know it does for me. The inefficiency creates stress, coupled with the get-it-done-yesterday pressure.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I would not give up technology, because there have been many gains. The cost has been the loss of emotional connections, which contrary to popular belief, are not made strictly with social media. I sit in meetings with people who are busily typing crap into their laptops or pads, and probably aren’t really listening to what is being said. Does anyone ever read those notes? This lack of connection is so widespread that it has become acceptable to say anything, even on national television. When demeaning statements about a dead person are blown all over social media, it gives people “permission” to say any damn thing they please. Where are our manners and what has happened to our sensitivity?

I could go on and on about this, but I want to keep the focus on the workplace. This age of bad attitude has infiltrated the places where we derive our sense of accomplishment and financial support. I realized that after yesterday’s rant, that it wasn’t just yesterday. Venting has become commonplace. Demands create stress. Stress creates frustration and we take it out on each other. We think that as professionals we should keep your mouths shut and put up with it in fear that we would lose this security. I have taught my staff that “if you don’t vent, you blow” and we keep those vent sessions sacred, unless there is something that does require intervention or action. Yesterday was my turn.

I’ve been using vacation time lately and getting a taste of what my changing circumstances will look like. I WANT IT. The freedom to do things of my choosing and on my schedule is rejuvenating. Being away from the stress has me feeling physically renewed. Going into work had me feeling trapped and this little frisson of fear attached to my monkey brain and said, “you are never going to get to leave, too many people need what you know”. Uh-oh. Now reality says that’s ridiculous. You are not in jail. You are not handcuffed. You do not have to stay. But I think you get the idea.

Feeling trapped is just an illusion created by your ego to keep you from making a decision. We might not even know that it is fear. My coworkers expressed their need of me, gratefully so, but it activates my character traits of feeling responsible and caretaking. Then I get hooked into a pattern of doing too much for others and to little for me. All work and no play makes Lorrie a crabby woman.

It all comes back to disinfecting my attitude. Even if my heart tugs otherwise, I must set appropriate boundaries for myself. I need to teach others how to do things for themselves, which is very empowering for them. I need to say no to requests that do not serve either of us. I need to avoid any discussion of failure, while acknowledging that this is a transition time – even for me. Life moves on, even if we are afraid to flow with it. I am ready to move on, filled with hopes, dreams and desires for this next chapter. And to those I am, I hate to use the words – leaving behind, I hope that you also have dreams and desires that you will pursue.